Watching the Berlin Wall come down in 1991 at the age of eleven, Artyom did not completely understand the severity of what was happening, but from the way his Russian parents, and especially his Red Army veteran grandfather, reacted, he knew it wasn't good. The first ten years of his life had been spent under the shadow of the Soviet Union in the then-client state of South Zagoria. Everything was handled a certain way, and when the country gained independence following the collapse of the USSR, Artyom's life was turned on its head, now having to live in a newly-founded nation that was scrambling to establish a new economy, a new government system, and a new lifestyle in general. He grew angry. Angry at himself, angry at the world, angry at the situation he was in. Hearing his grandfather, a soldier who fought from Stalingrad to Berlin, talk about the good old "glory days" of the USSR, hearing his Russian parents talk about possibly raising enough money to move back to their homeland, it all further hammered into Artyom the red ideals.
An easily impressible, angry young man who wanted to "return to the old way of things", it was very easy for Artyom to fall in with The Chernarussian Movement Of The Red Star.
His grandfather had let him shoot the Mosin-Nagant he had brought home from the war with him, and Artyom's father had taken him hunting a few times, so he was no stranger to rifles. He had always been good at spotting deer and tracking, and his shots weren't terrible. Replacing deer with High Value Targets and a Mosin-Nagant with an AK-74 or Dragunov, and he quickly earned a reputation among the other Chedaki for his eagle eyes. He thought he was helping the cause, he thought he was doing the right thing. He didn't know about the purges being done.
A photo of Artyom Glukhovsky, taken during the early stages of the "September Crisis" (Taken on September 10th, 2009.).
While the insurgent uprising in Chernarus was successful at first, the takeover of the country and execution of the prime minister being rapid and nearly flawless, the Chedaki forces were never properly equipped to face off against an army counterattack. When that came under Operation Harvest Red, a joint operation between the United States Marines and CDF military forces, the Chedaki were quickly shattered under the combined attacks. Any attempts to rally a proper defense proved to be fruitless, and Artyom and his surviving squad-mates quickly found themselves on the retreat. With the news of their commanding officers being eliminated or captured, they quickly realized that their attempted coup had failed, and that to stay in the country was certain death.
A photo of Artyom Glukhovksy, taken during the failed defense of Mogilevka from US/CDF forces in the waning days of "Operation Harvest Red" (Taken on October 19th, 2009.).
A squad of fifteen dropped to a squad of ten, then to a squad of five as attrition, morale, and injuries took their toll as Artyom and his friends retreated northwards, towards the Black Mountains. The United States and CDF soldiers were hot on their trail. It was becoming more and more dire, but their luck finally seemed to turn when they came upon a farmhouse with a still working truck inside.
That was when it went wrong.
The man had been compliant, tried to talk them out of taking the car, but then his wife jumped up with a shotgun. When Artyom jerked his rifle to aim at her, the man pulled out a pistol of his own.
He shot them both. The wife went down with a round to the head, the man shot wildly, missed, and dove behind the truck. Artyom shot him through the doors, spraying the entire car's side down.
It was only after it was all done that he saw the two children in the back. Two ten year-olds, one dead girl, the other a dying boy.
The enemy was right behind them, there was not time to mourn, but Artyom could only stare. Children. He had shot children.
His comrade finished the job.
They regrouped with what was left of their movement, and waited it out the best they could. When things had calmed, when they could return to the country, Artyom went and never looked back. He burned his Red Star badge, buried his beret and planted a tree on top of it.
He moved into his old home of Svetlojarsk, and began work as a construction worker once more. His contacts took him into Russia, Takistan, but mostly in South Zagoria. He met his wife in Russia, they married and had three kids. Another chance.
He would never pick up a rifle again. When the infection hit, he was up in Russia on a contract job for a construction company there. He still had an old comrade's number, one he had never wanted to call again. But it was one last favor they had for each other.
<"Get them out of the country. Get them to Miroslavl. Tell them I'll find them. Tell Tatiana to take the Mosin.">
His friend kept his word. Now it was time for him to keep his.